One easy way to reduce your plastic consumption is to trade disposable single-use supermarket produce bags for reusable ones. This will help reduce the impact plastic has on the environment and the oceans.
Why Switch to Reusable Produce Bags?
Not only are plastic produce bags made from petroleum, a harmful by-product of the oil industry, but they also cannot decompose, are rarely recycled and unlike plastic carrier bags, cannot be reused even once.
This means that if they don’t end up filling your kitchen cupboards or littering the street, they will end up as landfill and in our oceans, potentially harming wildlife.
It can take from between 400 to 1000 years for plastic bags to break down, so continuing to use them for our groceries is unsustainable.
While some companies are switching to biodegradable plastics made from alternative materials such as corn starch, these products are more expensive, and the process is more difficult which is discouraging.
Secondly, biodegradable plastics are often are unable to decompose if the conditions aren’t exactly right.
They may also contribute to the production of greenhouse gases such as methane.
Reusable produce bags are not yet widely used, as most people still don’t give the plastic bags used for fruit and veg in supermarkets a lot of thought.
Despite this, there are plenty of options out there for those wanting to further reduce their plastic waste.
We have compiled a list of the best reusable grocery bags for you to choose from.
Best Reusable Produce Bags in the UK
1. Carrinet Veggio Reusable Fruit and Veg Bags
Carrinet is a Swedish company who recognise the importance of reusing and recycling.
These net bags come in 3 different sizes with the purpose of carrying fruit and vegetables and come with a toggled drawstring to keep your groceries secure.
These lightweight bags are made from polyester and are breathable, meaning your groceries will stay fresher for longer and are machine washable.
Veggio bags come in packs of 5 and are made of strong, sustainable plastic designed for multiple uses.
They do not attract mould or bacteria so produce can even be stored in the bags after purchase and are stress-tested to 10 kg.
These bags can also double as laundry bags, keeping delicates safe in the washing machine.
2. Newland Reusable Silicone Food Storage Bags
These bags are smaller and temperature resistant, making them ideal for using as food storage bags at home.
They are made from food-grade silicone which is an eco-friendly and durable product that can be used in place of plastic.
Their durability makes them a versatile alternative that can be used for storage, lunches and in refrigeration. Their seals are equipped to hold both solids and liquids, locking out air and moisture for prolonged freshness.
Newland reusable storage bags come in a 4 pack of various colours.
3. Reusable Mesh Produce Sacks by EarthWise
These bags offer the best value for money on this list. They have a long life, and can save the usage of up to 1000 plastic bags. They are washable and sealable with a drawstring.
These multipurpose bags can be used for storage, snacks, laundry and allow for rinsing fruit and veg inside the bag.
Made of mesh, it is easy to see the contents, and they are easily transportable and light.
EarthWise has been a leader in supplying eco-friendly reusable bags since 2005 with equal dedication to customer service and high-quality materials.
The mesh bags are made from recyclable, non-toxic, and water-repellent material.
4. All Cotton and Linen Reusable Mesh Produce Bags
These produce bags from New Jersey company All Cotton and Linen are made from organic cotton, protecting the land from harmful chemicals and conserving biodiversity.
While these bags are slightly more expensive than some of the others reviewed here, they are elegant, well made and come in larger sizes. These bags are totally free of plastic and the cotton is breathable for freshness.
As with some of the other bags in this list, these bags are multipurpose and can be used for an array of household chores.
They are washable and lightweight and the best thing about cotton bags is that they are compostable when they wear out.
Most cotton bags aren’t see-through, but these bags are made of mesh so the contents are still visible.
5. Re-Sack Organic Fruit & Veg Net Bags
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Re-Sack bags are made from organic cotton and the company practices a fair wage policy.
Although they are machine washable, the nets do shrink in size by 10-12% due to the natural material.
Re-Stack net bags are available for sale from Boobalou, an online shop that aims to reduce the amount of plastic waste we produce with a wide range of plastic-free and biodegradable alternative products for the home.
If we had to pick just one of these products to recommend it would be Carrinet Veggio Reusable Fruit and Veg Bags as they are durable and well made as well as being easily washable.
The different sizes are good for storing different types of fruit and veg, so they are ideal for using at the supermarket.
See our guide to using less plastic here for some more steps you can take to reduce your plastic usage.